The Library is for Everyone.
Someone wrote to my library complaining that we had LGBT pride posters up, so I wrote her back:
I am at your library near Whitmer and see a large sign saying “LGBT celebrating diversity.” I’m disappointed that this propaganda has to be shoved down the throats of people (especially children) attending your library. Do you have a week where you celebrate straight people? I’m going to report you for being biased against straight people. Do you have a week to celebrate protestants, Catholics, tall people, short people? Why push your personal views on the public? This is very disappointing and I’m ready to close my account with you due to this. Thanks, XXXXXXX
Thank you for your note, XXXXXXXX.
In all that we do at TLCPL, we strive to be a welcoming place for all — meaning we value and respect diversity, equity, and fairness in everything we do at the library. These are organizational values, not personal views. June is designated worldwide as LGBT pride month, and the library regularly celebrates these monthly designations with posters highlighting notable authors, historical figures, or gems from our collection.
But I get your point. Where is your poster? Where is your month? As a straight white man, I need only look around me every day to see my world affirmed. I don’t have to worry about being attacked because someone decides my sexual orientation isn’t “right.” I don’t have to fear for my life because someone thinks my skin color makes me a terrorist or a criminal.
If one of our gay, lesbian, or transgender customers finds the library welcoming in a society that is so often hostile to them, we have done our job in being welcoming to all.
I hope you’ll reflect a moment before canceling your library card. Think about all the good things your library has given you in your life, and decide if one poster aimed at celebrating equity and inclusivity really undoes all that good.
I’d be glad to talk about this in more detail with you if you’d like. My number is 419.259.5260.
Yours for an inclusive library system,
Toledo Lucas County Public Library